Dolly Parton and Her Most Memorable Television Roles

by Jacklyn Krol
dolly-parton-and-her-most-memorable-television-roles

Discover the best Dolly Parton television roles over the span of her impressive career.

Throwback Features

Parton got her start in television and in music on The Porter Wagoner Show. This show helped launch Parton into superstardom as she was a relatively unknown artist prior to her debut. From 1967 through 1975, she performed in 154 episodes. Parton signed onto the show for five years and ended up staying for seven. She even wrote “I Will Always Love You” about Wagoner and her time on the show. She acted and performed on the show as well as Wagoner’s traveling show.

Watch her first appearance on the show where she performs “Dumb Blonde,” below.

In addition to her long-running appearance, she has acted as a featured guest on numerous shows. She portrayed herself on Bette. She was featured in their 2000 Halloween episode. Similarly, in 1991 she was featured on Babes‘ Hello Dolly episode. She performed “Why’d You Come In Here Lookin’ Like That.”

After the success of her movie, 9 to 5, the show sparked a television series. Rachel Dennison portrayed Parton’s character’s younger sister. Although Parton was not featured in the television show, she did compose and record the theme song.

Parton was also a guest on Designing Women back in 1990. In “The First Day of the Last Decade of the Entire Twentieth Century: Part 2” episode she performed “Somewhere Out There”)

Voice Work

Iconically, Parton was featured on a 1999 episode of The Simpsons. “The Sunday, Cruddy Sunday” episode features Parton bailing the characters out of jail during Super Bowl Sunday.

Additionally, Dolly Parton performed on Alvin & The Chipmunks in 1983. She portrayed herself on the ‘Urban Chipmunk/The
Incredible Shrinking Dave” episode. She also appeared as herself on Captain Kangaroo on the “Dolly Parton Visits the Captain’s Place” episode in 1976. Finally, in 2017, Parton portrayed Noleen on ‘The Salty Chicken” episode of Lily’s Driftwood Bay.

Everyone knows that Parton is an advocate for children’s education. She appeared on a 1996 episode of The Magic School Bus. She played the role of Katrina Eloise ‘Murph’ Murphy on The Family Holiday Special episode.

Most Recent Roles

Although we never knew her full name, she appeared as “Aunt Dolly” on Disney Channel’s Hannah Montana. She was featured in three episodes of the show between 2006 and 2010. The casting made sense as in real life she is Miley Cyrus’ godmother. The pair also performed snippet acoustic renditions from the show’s album.

Parton revealed to Buzzfeed that it was Cyrus who wanted her on the show and had the writers write a recurring role for her. “I really loved the time that we spent with her doing the show,” she shared. “She didn’t know it, but I was watching her like a proud mama, thinking, ‘You go, you little thing. I’m so proud of you.'”

Parton appeared on Reba McEntire’s sitcom in 2005. She portrayed the character Dolly Majors on the”Reba’s Rules of Real Estate” episode.

E! News asked McEntire if she would consider working with Parton on the road or on a future film.

“Touring with Dolly? Wouldn’t that be a hoot? Yeah, I would consider that in a heartbeat. I love Dolly Parton,” McEntire exclaimed. “When I was doing the Reba TV show, Dolly spent the whole week with us on set. She was one of the guest stars and that’s the last time we really got to sit down and visit.” As for a film, that’s a definite yes as well!

 2017 she appeared and performed on Snug’s House. The show is a pre-school age educational show features a puppet and two hosts that encourage the children to play along with them.

Netflix and Dolly Parton

Finally, Parton has maintained a great relationship with the streaming giant. Aside from her Netflix movies, she also debuted Heartstrings. She acts, sings, and produces the television series. Each episode is based on one of her songs and tells the story like you’ve never heard it before.

Netflix wanted “Jolene” as the first episode. Parton told Golden Derby that it was hard to know how to tell the story.

“I was excited how [Patrick] Sean Smith had taken the story and made it different than what people really thought the Jolene story was or what it should be and having Julianne Hough play Jolene, who I think she did a beautiful job, she’s a beautiful girl and loved working with her.”

Parton also spoke highly of Netflix. “I have to honestly say, working with Netflix has been one of the great joys of my business, because a lot of times when you work with networks or other shows, you really don’t have as much creative control as you’d like.”

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